So, not to be “that guy,” but did we ever have a serious conversation about cancelling Sun God Festival? If even half of the rumors surrounding the changes to the event are accurate, students have been clear it isn’t the kind of event they want. In our rush to save the Sun God Festival, we were so preoccupied with asking if we could, we didn’t stop to ask if we should.
The Sun God Festival that we know is already dead and will likely remain so until well after we’ve all graduated. While it’s nice that we’ve distracted ourselves from the loss of the festival with what seems to be a heavily watered-down version, the alarming lack of clarity surrounding the new event falls far short of being acceptable. The event is three months out, and no one has been able to give a definitive answer about how A.S. Council’s single biggest event (and expense) of the year is going to change. That worries me.
I know the idea of cancelling Sun God Festival isn’t palatable, but I don’t think it should have been ruled out. We’re close enough to the event that cancelling it is no longer a viable option, making this conversation purely academic, but it’s still a conversation worth having —and one that we should have had six months ago. Student leaders have argued that we should preserve the festival because “it’s what students want,” but the festival students want is no longer an option. Leading up to last year’s festival, students were repeatedly warned that if the issues surrounding it didn’t drastically improve, it would be our last festival. That raises the question, “what the hell are we doing here?”
There’s a good case to be made for cancelling the event, if only for one year. Last year’s festival demonstrated that the university’s alcohol and drug education programs were largely ineffective at creating a safer event. The extra security measures, aside from being expensive, were just as ineffective. We were (and remain) sorely in need of time to thoroughly and inclusively consider what our next steps should be.
Our new Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs, who is ultimately responsible for bringing the campus to a decision on Sun God Festival, arrived midway through the post-festival chaos. How can someone who’s never seen the festival and has barely had time to acquaint himself with the campus (he hasn’t even been to every college council yet) be expected to do that? It’s not his fault, but the fact remains: We need more time. We need to give the campus an opportunity to reshape the culture of drinking and drug use surrounding the festival.
Sun God is important to all of us. It’s important to students, to A.S. Concerts and Events (which has done a masterful job of planning events for students) and believe it or not, Student Affairs staff because they understand what it means to students. Something this important deserves more time than we’re giving it.